It’s a word that sounds defeated. Discouraged. Beaten.
verb (used without object)
“to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.” [dictionary.com]
While the word may seem to carry a negative connotation, in the Christian life is a cumulative word that describes what happens when a person,
1.) recognizes who God is;
2.) sees themself as they truly are–a sinner in need of a Savior;
and 3.) makes a conscious choice to surrender their life to the One who came to save them.
Surrender doesn’t come easily for us. We are taught from an early age to fight for “our rights”, to stand up for ourselves, to get “what we deserve”, and to never back down.
Only Jesus came to serve.
“On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28
I know. Sometimes you feel like you are the only one. If you’re like me, you get in a rut and you think, “sometimes I wish someone would take care of me for a change…”.
But it never works.
Self-focus never satisfies. What might last for a moment of gratification, often leads to even greater disappointment when the feeling wears off.
Let me say it again, self-focus never satisfies.
The new polish will fade. The new garment will wear out. The gift is barely opened before we start thinking of the next thing on our list of things we want to buy or places we want to go, things we want to do.
“Many plans are in a man’s heart,
but the Lord’s decree will prevail.”
Surrendering to God is more than just a one-time confession that you believe in God. The first time that you consciously turn from sin and turn to the Savior, there is a sweet surrender of your soul to the One who created you.
But it is just the beginning.
Surrender is a daily moment-by-moment melding of your heart to the heart of the Father. Connecting your thoughts with His thoughts.
Seeking His will and not your own.
DYING TO SELF
When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught, and you sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ-that is dying to self.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take all in patient loving silence-that is dying to self.
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, or any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus endured it-that is dying to self.
When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any attitude, any interruption by the will of God-that is dying to self.
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown-that is dying to self.
When you see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances-that is dying to self.
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself, can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart-that is dying to self.
(Bill Britton, “Dethrone the King: Dying to Self,” The Heartbeat of the Remnant, July/August, 2002, 19)
“Instead, you should say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'” James 4:15
Every year I choose a word to focus on as I read and study God’s word. Often it proves to be significant in my spiritual journey as I try to surrender my heart–not just my head–to His Lordship over my life. Committing to the physical act of discipleship (Bible study, prayer) is only the first step–applying what we have learned is where full surrender takes place.
Do you have a word for 2020? If so, I’d love for you to share as we anticipate what God will do in the coming days!
Coming soon I hope to share with you what it looks like on “The Other Side of ‘Yes'”–I hope you will join me and share your own story!